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Rumors Of Bin Laden's Whereabouts

Aired December 27, 2001 - 10:46   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now I want to get more information on these reports we've been getting about the possible whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

Let's bring in our CNN Terrorism Analyst Peter Bergen, who is standing by in Washington. Peter, hello.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM EXPERT: Hi, Daryn.

KAGAN: Just to review here, the Afghan government official comes out and he says "Oh, I believe that Osama bin Laden is actually in Pakistan, under the protection of this radical Islamic group." And then we heard from the leader of that group, telling directly to CNN, saying, "No, that is not true." He has no idea where Osama bin Laden might be. Any thoughts you can give us on the developments today?

BERGEN: Well, you know, this weekend, Daryn, a Pakistani newspaper, "The Pakistan Observer," was reporting that bin Laden had died of some kind of lung complaint, sometime in the past couple weeks. So I think it's fairly typical in this sort of situation, where you have a lot of conflicting reports, of perhaps dubious veracity. And, if indeed, I have always thought it unlikely that bin Laden would go to Pakistan.

KAGAN: Why is that?

BERGEN: Pakistan has -- is there's no extradition treaty between the United States and Pakistan, but Pakistan has been quite forward in terms of handing over people the United States wants in the past. For instance, Ramsey Youssef, the mastermind of the Trade Center bombing in 1993. Mir Amu Kansi who shot up the CIA in 1995 was also handed over, even though he was actually a Pakistani citizen.

Bin Laden himself, if you remember, about six weeks ago, actually started issuing statements criticizing the Pakistani government. So, I think the Pakistani government --

KAGAN: Based on the relationship -- the current relationship between the Pakistani government and the United States?

BERGEN: Right. Exactly, and so, I think the Pakistani government is taking a robust attitude in a lot of areas not just about bin Laden. But, you know, they're disarming these religious parties. They actually disarmed -- started disarming some of the religious parties in Pakistan as early as July, even before the events

of September 11. I think bin Laden, who's not obviously -- he's obviously not a stupid man -- understands that Pakistan is hardly a very good refuge.

KAGAN: Very good. All right, we just wanted to get your feedback on that latest development. We're going to have you stick around. In the next hour, we'll have you come back and we'll talk about this latest tape that been released and that Al Jazeera plan to play in its entirety of 34 minutes later today. So, you'll stick around with us.

BERGEN: Sure.

KAGAN: Very good. Peter Bergen in Washington, D.C.

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